Artist Interview with Lauren Passarelli
- Gabriel Maceu Faria
Once more, we are very proud to present an interview with an amazing artist. Lauren Passarelli, Professor of Guitar at the Berklee College of Music, has given us a bit of her time to discuss her love for music, her production techniques, the Beatles, and life. It was a super exciting chat that we had the honor to have live on our Instagram page. Let's see how that went!
Hi Lauren, thanks a lot for taking part in our interview series. Please introduce yourself to our readers!
Lauren: I’m a singer-songwriter, recording engineer, and Professor of Guitar at Berklee College of music. I play many instruments, and love making sound paintings by writing songs, and recording, turning emotions into sound.
Tell us about your audio setup in general and, of course, in which part of your processes our product(s) are most important to you.
Lauren: I have an Apollo quad and Apollo 8 to Logic x on an Apple Macbook Pro. I have a few preamps and several options to get into Logic. But I loved the idea of a channel strip. Tegeler gear has a depth, and magic to it. I wanted to play with buttons, and switches and dial in a sound. Whether it’s a tube mic into the VRTC on an acoustic guitar or a mic on a guitar amp recording an electric guitar through the VTRC, or a vocal mic directly into VTRC, I can to distinctly focus and pinpoint the exact right magnitude, tone, and weight of each sound before I record. As I play or sing, I can feel if the capture of my performance is being supported. It’s lovely to reach for physical controls to find the right underpinning. It makes playing and singing easy, like buttah.
Building an analog setup is all about creating a signature sound and constantly developing it further. Before you got your Tegeler unit, which changes in tone or workflow did you look for and why did you decide to go for our Vari Tube Recording Channel?
Lauren: I was looking for something that would transform, translate, and enhance the original sound. I loved the videos I caught on YouTube about the VTRC. It looked fun to play with. I liked the different parameters and I loved the results these folks were getting. I also love the color blue, and I wanted a channel strip. I have both the varitube and the lighter blue Tegeler recording channel. I often use them both in the I/O on previously recorded tracks, as well. Then I print the results. I can call up the printed VTRC track and use it in parallel or use it instead of the original recorded track. The VTRC sounds amazing on my voice, my guitars, bass guitar… everything. We’re all reaching for it; it’s a beautiful thing to get even closer to a great sound.
Can you describe the most important aspects of your work in 3 short sentences?
Lauren: I love writing, performing, recording, and mixing. So, my setups need many workflows near where I can reach everything. Writing a song and turning it into a finished mix is exciting. I just love reaching for better sound. I’ve always had some kind of recording setup from a little reel to reel like a Stellavox, or a bigger machine like a Webcore tape recorder. I found I could do multi-tracking with two cassette decks when I was a teenager. I hated tape hiss, and noise so I loved when digital cleaned all that up. But just as there’s a visual difference between film and video, it’s nice to have gear that warms and saturates to blend, and smooth a signal as the Tegeler gear does. Having a recording studio with real gear is always the dream.
How did your production/mixing/mastering techniques evolve since you started?
Lauren: I made my first release on a half-inch 8 track Tascam 38, and M35 mixer! Then I had a Studiomaster, Trackmix 32 console. Then came the ADATS, and then Logic. Recently I picked up a Tascam MS-16, 1 inch, 16 track, tape machine for the fun of watching it go 'round. I am mixing in Logic, and mostly recording and mixing in Logic, and mastering in Studio One. I have much love and gratitude for Leanne Ungar, Dave Moulton, Jonathan Wyner, Matt Rifino, Michael Harmon, Sean Mclaughlin, Elliot Scheiner, and Stephen Webber for what they have shared with me. I had ached for platforms like Puremix, Mix With the Masters, Produce Like a Pro, and Why Logic Pro Rules forever, so I am deeply grateful to Fab Dupont, Warren Huart, Chris Vandeviver, John Paterno, Tom Elmhirst, Tchad Blake, Bob Clearmountain, Mitchell Froom, Jack Joseph Puig, Rafa Sardina, Michael Brauer, Al Schmidt, Chris Lord Alge, Andrew Scheps, Peter Katis, Greg Wells, Matt Ross-Spang, and Mick Guzauski for teaching.
Do you think that gaining experience in audio production/engineering primarily benefits technical skills or does it also affect creativity?
Lauren: It depends on your curiosity, and the teacher. Both are needed.
The effects of the still ongoing Covid pandemic are a hard hit for society. We think it's important to keep up a good spirit. Did you experience any subjectively positive side effects of the pandemic? Did you spend more time in the studio?
Lauren: I was mixing and mastering my album, Night Vision, and creating the video of The Making of Night Vision, at the time. I think my time in the studio was about the same: as often as possible.
Are you currently planning on changing your hardware setup?
Lauren: Adding the Tegeler Creme would be sweet. I’d also like a Distressor, and the Cranbourne 500 adat. I often want a console again.
How satisfied are you with our products and would you modify them in some way if you could?
Lauren: I love Tegeler. There is a professional sound to Tegeler. It’s subtle, musical, and desired. I might make the preamp on the VTRC even stronger. So far, I’ve experienced the VTRC, and the original recording channel, and I’m keeping both.
If you could have our team of experts design your dream analog gear, what would it be?
Lauren: A Curve Bender type EQ, a recording console.
Last but not least, what are you working on at the moment? Any projects that will be released in the near future?
Lauren: My EP, Mystery is new. I recently wrote a song called, Seasonal Blues. I recorded my acoustic, 3 electrics, and 3 vocals each through my Tegeler Varitube, to the 16 to tape machine. It was a blast. This January 2022 I’m writing as many songs in one month as I can for the fun of it. Each one gets the basics recorded, then I write another. After January I’ll finish those up and release many of them this year.
Thank you very much for the talk, Lauren!